North Carolina (7-5) vs. Tennessee (6-6) (-2)
I wonder how many people wrote the “two programs going in opposite directions” angle for this game. That doesn’t really do the direction these two teams are heading in any justice.
North Carolina is a mess. A mess created by Butch Davis. You would think the NCAA is waiting to come in with the wrath of God on this university, but it sure as hell seems like they’re content to just make players ineligible and stay hands off. I have no idea how that’s possible with the shenanigans going on there, but here we are.
It’s impossible to tell if the NCAA will do anything different to UNC if they fire Butch Davis, or if they’ll do anything at all. They react so slowly to most crises, and yet they were very quick to declare four UNC players permanently ineligible. Davis also has a track record of exactly this kind of mess, so who knows what the hell is going on.
As for Tennessee, it’s not really fair to say they’re on the way up from the depressing end of Phil Fulmer’s tenure. 6-6 isn’t exactly what you would call awesome, so I’m thinking they’re more treading water than anything else. Derek Dooley has to completely rebuild that team, so treading water isn’t a reason for suicide like the last few Fulmer years were.
All in all, this is a very non-descript game with very little to say about either of these teams. You’ll definitely see some of them playing on Sundays, but mediocrity is the word of the afternoon.